Defined as the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints, arthritis affects many people worldwide. Some of the main signs and symptoms of the condition include joint pain and stiffness, which tends to get worse with age as the mobility of joints is severely affected. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The health condition is so widespread across the globe that 12th October of every year is commemorated as World Arthritis Day.
The Channel 46 collaborated with Dr Kaushal Malhan, Director of Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement Surgery, Fortis to advise you on 5 simple lifestyle changes that can keep arthritis under control.
3 Salient Points About Arthritis
- According to the National Health Portal, osteoarthritis commonly impacts the joints in the body, including the knees, hips, hands, feet and spine. These can dangerously impact a person’s mobility and affect their overall quality of life.
- This condition can also be affected by modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors like obesity, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, bone density, occupational injury, trauma, and gender.
- The good news is that even if you have arthritis, you can make simple lifestyle changes that can help to bring about a positive difference in your life.
5 Simple Changes To Improve The Quality Of Your Life
1. Regular Exercise & Movement
While we understand that pain and stiffness caused by arthritis can make a person less inclined to exercise, there is no doubt that physical activity will go a long way in helping to reduce the symptoms attached to the condition. Since exercise affects the body’s muscles positively, a sedentary lifestyle will cause them to become weak and reduce the flexibility of the joints.
If you think you have symptoms associated with arthritis, it is best to include low-impact exercises in your regime to avoid muscle stiffness and pain. Additionally, swimming and cycling can help build endurance, which is why they are highly recommended. Irrespective of your age or health status, regular exercise can help a person control their weight, improve their sleep cycle, and live an overall balanced life.
Read: 10 Facts About Arthritis In Women You Must Know
2. Maintain A Healthy Body Weight
There is no doubt that obesity is the root cause of several illnesses, and it can directly impact arthritis as well. This is because every extra kilogram puts extra stress and pressure on the joints in the body, leading to pain and complications related to arthritis. If you feel that you have symptoms related to obesity, you need to consult a doctor/specialist, so that they can advise you on proper lifestyle changes that will help you reduce the risk of arthritis in the future.
3. Give Your Body Proper Rest, Whenever Required
While movement and exercise are critical for any arthritis patient, it is also vital that they do not over-exert themselves and give their body rest whenever required. An arthritis patient must always pay close attention to their body and never ignore any signs of pain that they experience. If you have pain in your joints, reduce its inflammation by using heat or cold compress. Additionally, if the pain is too much, do not hesitate to visit a doctor, so that they can guide you on the appropriate treatment technique.
4. Focus On A Healthy & Nutritious Diet
Not all calories and food items are equal or offer the same nutritional value. This means that a wide range of food items helps reduce inflammation and help arthritis patients properly manage their pain.
- Incorporate Essential Nutrients In Your Daily Diet
If you are an arthritis patient, it is recommended that you consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, soybean, walnut, flaxseed oils, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. In addition, high-fibre food like whole grain bread can help reduce inflammation.
- Avoid Sugar
Sugar is one item that should be avoided as it can be very harmful. In fact, according to studies, even 40 grams of sugar can trigger an adverse reaction in the body – this is, in particular, the amount of sugar in one bottle of soda.
- Avoid Dairy Products
Arthritis patients should also limit the number of dairy products they consume along with refined carbohydrates in high-glycaemic foods like bread, white rice, and potatoes, which can also cause inflammation and worsen symptoms related to arthritis.
- Stay Away From Deep Fried Foods
Since specific cooking methods can release or preserve nutrients in the food, arthritis patients should focus on food items that have been steamed rather than deep fried.
- Consume Supplements As Per The Doctor’s Prescription
Also, on a doctor’s recommendation, an arthritis patient can consume supplements and vitamins if required; these supplements mustn’t be taken without a doctor’s prescription.
5. Inculcate Good Lifestyle Habits
There is no doubt that a good diet coupled with regular exercise and quality sleep can help a person live a long and healthy life. A person must follow these essential lifestyle habits, especially if at risk of arthritis or non-communicable diseases.
- Sleep For 8-9 Hours Daily
When a person has good quality sleep of at least 8-9 hours every day, their body secretes a sleep hormone called melatonin that has an antioxidant effect. This supports your body in fighting or preventing inflammatory processes.
- Control The Intake Of Alcohol & Quit Smoking
Reduced intake of alcohol and not smoking are also essential as they can worsen or increase the risk of arthritis. Smoking directly impacts the connective tissue around joints, which substantially increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Read: 10 Practical Ways To Quit Smoking, According To An Expert
In conclusion, arthritis might seem like a problematic condition affecting overall mobility. Still, today there are many assistive orthotic devices and splints available to make life easier for this category of people. These devices can make walking and mobility much more accessible and maintain the overall quality of life. For instance, a raised toilet seat and grab bars for the bathroom or flat knobs or handles for the kitchen cabinets rather than round ones are highly recommended. Aids to assist with everyday activities, such as putting on shoes and buttoning clothes, are also a good investment for people with arthritis.
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